Ulceration

Ulceration of the lower leg. There are many causes, commonly local vascular deficiency, usually in sufferers from varicose veins. Pressure increases in the veins because blood is not removed quickly enough; this pressure causes oedema in the lower legs, and the small vessels in the leg are damaged, leading to eczema and/or leg ulcers. The skin of the lower leg receives insufficient oxygen, and skin cells are destroyed, causing an ulcer (sometimes tens of centimetres in size). Small cuts no longer heal and also form ulcers. The condition is treated with various ointments and bandages, and usually the patient is fitted with made-to-measure elastic stockings; they should be worn all the time except when lying in bed with the leg raised. Despite all these measures, the condition may take months to heal. Patients with varicose veins can prevent the occurrence of leg ulcers by avoiding standing for long periods and putting the legs up regularly, to increase blood flow out of the legs. Ulcers on the skin of the arms, legs and face; they often heal spontaneously, but care must be taken to prevent other infections developing in the wound. Treatment by medication is sometimes necessary.

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